How the Ransom works...
It has been my long-standing opinion that the Bible is not a religious book, but a book about logic, and a defence and validation of good morals ( see the monograph on this website on word definitions). Religion basically being an invention of certain men.
So, with this mindset, of looking for an explanation of the ransom that is more logical than religious, let's take a look at the ransom.
For our setting let's imagine that we are in heaven right about the time that Satan has gotten Adam and Eve to eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and bad (Which is the event that brought up the need for the ransom in the first place). At this point God turns to his Son and sadly shakes his head and says "we've got a real problem here".
His Son replies: "It looks very bad".
God: "Satan has been bragging that I can't fix this without breaking at least one af my laws". ( please see the monograph on this website "the truth about God ").
God continues: " I'm going to need some help, are you willing to help me?".
Son: "Of course".
God: "Thank you. In a few thousand years I'm going to ask a big favour of you".
Son: "Whatever you need I'll do".
So, about four thousand years roll by and God turns to his Son and says "I need your help now. I would like for you to go to earth and live a life as a perfect man".
Son: "I'm willing to do this. Will I lose my life in heaven forever?".
God: "Thank you again. And no, you will not lose your right to live in heaven, you have been a very good son and have done nothing wrong, I'm looking forward to your return already".
So, God's Son goes to earth and lives a remarkable life that will amaze and captivate our imaginations forever. And dies. Proving the saying true for our world "no good deed goes unpunished". And then he returns to heaven.
God: (with the warmest of all hugs) "Welcome home Son".
Son: "Well, how did I do?".
God: "Perfectly, I couldn't be more proud".
Son: "Am I still entitled to my life in heaven?".
Son: "Really then, I did nothing to deserve losing my life on earth either, did I?".
Son: "So, actually I'm entitled to two lives, the one in heaven, and the one on earth. Yes?".
God: "Yes, that is true, you did nothing to deserve losing either life".
Son: "In your opinion, would you say that the life I lived on earth was worth as much as Adam's life?".
God: "Yes, up until the time that he ate the fruit".
Son: "Well then, this is what I would like to do. I will quit any claims to my rights of life on earth if you will let me take that life and buy everything Adam* would have owned".
God: (almost unable to contain his pride, joy, and love for his son) "In full harmony with the laws of justice that govern the universe I have made and my own desires, your request is granted".
You see, Satan perfectly understood God's principles of justice, and he knew that a life could be exchanged for a life but he knew that no one would give up their life forever to exchange for Adam's life. And he knew that God would never ask for such a thing or in fact even allow such a thing. So Satan thought he had God over a barrel, he had tied God's hands behind his back with his own law. Or so he thought. Except that there was no law that said that God couldn't give one person two lives. Satan had said "checkmate" to God, and God had replied "no, that's 'check'. I'll show you checkmate later".
There is another legal aspect of the ransom that needs to be explained.
By God being the father of Jesus, Satan could make no legal claim to the paternal side of the Messiah. But the mother was human, and since the garden episode the human family no longer belonged to God, but to Satan. This presented a problem, what to do, ponder ponder hmmmm...
Here is the very clever, very legal way God dealt with this problem. When Israel (Jacob's family) was in Egypt they finally had grown to a size that God was ready to select them as a nation. So, through Moses and the ten plagues, God began to make Israel a deep source of irritation to Egypt and Pharaoh.
To make a very long story very short, Egypt/Pharoah finally got so sick of Israel that he drove them out of his country. And here's where it gets interesting. At this point Egypt/Pharaoh appears to regret their decision and pursues Israel into the desert with murder on their mind. Eventually Pharaoh and his troops box Israel in against the Red Sea with absolutely no hope of escape.
At this point God looks down and says "hmmmmm....."
God: "Satan, a word with you please".
Satan: "What do you want?".
God: " It looks like you've pretty well had it with Israel".
Satan: "Yeah, and now I'm going to kill them".
Satan: (smugly, and with great disrespect) "Yes really".
God to Israel: "It looks like Egypt wants to kill you".
Israel: "That would be a pretty safe bet".
God: "So you don't think there is any way to save yourselves?".
Israel: "No, there is none at all".
God: "I'm just making sure that you know that".
God, now to both Satan and Israel: "Satan, you have rejected Israel to the point that you're now willing to destroy them".
Satan: "With pleasure".
God: "Israel, you now know that your hope for life is over".
Israel: "Yes, all is lost".
God: "I am now going to open up the Read Sea behind Israel and let them through, by their passing through, they acknowledge that their continuing existence is dependent on my saving them, and by Satan's personal rejection of them, they are no longer owned by Satan but are now owned by me, warts and all". (please see monograph on this website "the Truth about God").
So the nation of Israel became unique among the human race, in that they are the only family (or nation) of the human race owned directly by God. So God legally extracted Israel from Satan's ownership, thus providing a maternal side to the ransom that Satan could make no claims on. (see Ps 74:2)
So God has been true to his own law. And has proved true his claim that his law is perfect.
And this, gentle reader, is how Jesus and his dear old Dad redeemed (ransomed) the human race.
*Christians are fond of saying "Jesus died for me" and although that shows good gratitude, it is not technically correct. Jesus was only one perfect man, and could thus provide equal value for only one perfect man's ransom (using the biblical principle of equivalent value ' eye for eye' etc.) So technically, Jesus only ransomed Adam's life. But that life included every thing that life owned, including his wife and children, dominion over the animals etc. So Jesus only died directly for Adam, we benefit indirectly, or as a secondary effect. (Romans 5:12-18, 1 Corinthians 15: 21,22, 1Timothy 2:6)
By-the-bye, in case you're wondering "Who was the ransom paid to ?" .....
It was 'paid to' satisfy "Justice" and "Law". It's really that simple.
Under the old Jewish Law code of "eye for eye, etc., etc.,". Who was that "eye" or tooth or whatever, given or 'paid to' ? No one. It was given to satisfy "Justice". (please see 'Word Definitions' on this website)